1. A Question of EthicsFair Debt-Collection Practices. Barry Sussman graduated from law school, but

1. A
Question of EthicsFair Debt-Collection Practices. Barry Sussman graduated from law school, but also served
time in prison for attempting to collect debts by posing as an FBI agent. He
theorized that if a debtcollection business collected only debts that it owned
as a result of buying checks written on accounts with insufficient

funds (NSF
checks), it would not be subject to the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA). Sussman formed Check Investors, Inc., to act on his theory. Check
Investors bought more than 2.2 million NSF checks, with an estimated face value of about $348

1. A
Question of EthicsFair Debt-Collection Practices. Barry Sussman graduated from law school, but also served
time in prison for attempting to collect debts by posing as an FBI agent. He
theorized that if a debtcollection business collected only debts that it owned
as a result of buying checks written on accounts with insufficient

funds (NSF
checks), it would not be subject to the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA). Sussman formed Check Investors, Inc., to act on his theory. Check
Investors bought more than 2.2 million NSF checks, with an estimated face value of about $348 million, for pennies on the dollar. Check Investors added a fee of $125 or $130 (more
than the legal limit in most states) to the
face amount of each check and aggressively pursued its drawer to collect. The firms employees were told to accuse drawers of being
criminals and to threaten them with arrest and prosecution. The threats were
false. Check Investors never took steps to initiate a prosecution. The
employees contacted the drawers family members and used saturation
phoningphoning a drawer numerous times in a short period. They used abusive
language, referring to drawers as deadbeats, retards, thieves, and idiots.
Between January 2000 and January 2003, Check Investors netted more than $10.2
million from its efforts. [ Federal Trade Commission v. Check Investors,
Inc., 502 F.3d 159 (3d Cir. 2007)] (See Credit Protection.)

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